January 27, 2014

Brief Power Outage Inconveniences Students on North, Central Campus

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Multiple parts of campus completely lost power for approximately half an hour on Monday, inconveniencing both staff and students.

Utility crews began responding to an outage affecting athletic facilities and buildings on North and Central Campus at 2:35 p.m., and electricity was completely restored to all affected areas by 3 p.m. according to Cornell Facilities Services.

University Spokesperson John Carberry said the outage occurred when “protective controls detected a problem with an electric feeder circuit that supplies major circuits on the endowed campus.”

He added that roughly 40 buildings were affected by the outage, including Baker Laboratory, Kroch Library, Milstein Hall and Helen Newman Hall.

“The main feeder circuit with the problem was installed and commissioned last fall and has been in service for months with no problem,” Carberry said.

Deborah Cook, public services staff for Cornell University Library, said that said that library staff collaborated quickly to accommodate the loss of power.

“We’ve had power outages before, but this one was campus-wide,” Cook said. “Certain places in the library were a little darker than others, so we had students go up with flashlights to make sure nobody was scared.”

Hannah Chapman, public services assistant for Cornell University Library, echoed Cook’s sentiments, saying that library staff members were able to effectively offset the impact of the outage.

“It was at about 2:30 and I was sitting at my desk in the back of the Uris and the power went out,” Chapman said. “I continued to help library patrons.”

Vasiliki Giannakakos ‘15, who works at Uris Library, said the brief loss of power was an inconvenience due to the below-freezing temperatures outside.

“There was no heating because we use space heaters,” she said. “I couldn’t get coffee for a while because they wanted cash only.”

Giannakakos, who said she was caught off guard by the outage, also noted that library computers stopped working.

Carberry added that an investigation is currently taking place to determine the root cause of the outage.

“Campus electrical operations are operating normally and no additional problems are anticipated,” he said.